Lawyers demand Gen Katumba’s attack suspects be produced in court

Lawyers demand Gen Katumba’s attack suspects be produced in court
The suspects' lawyer Geoffrey Turyamusiima files an application in court

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The lawyers representing eight suspects who were arrested by the security forces in relation to the murder of a driver and a daughter to Works and Transport Minister General Katumba Wamala have filed an application demanding for their production in court.

The eight are: Kamada Walusimbi alias Mudinia alias Ogema, Muhammed Kagugube alias Bafumoya, Siriman Kisambira alias Mukwasi, Hussein Wahab Lubwama alias Christopher Kinene alias Master, Ramadan Mustafa Kawawa alias Musa alias Amin, Juma Saidi, Idris Serwadda alias Swakibu alias Juma and Taata Umar.

The lawyers from Wameli and Company Advocates in their application filed before the Civil Division of High Court in Kampala contend that the whereabouts of their clients have not been known to them for a number of days until last week on Thursday 1, July 2021 when the Deputy Inspector General of Police Major General Paul Lokech addressed the media confirming their arrest.

According to Lokech, they arrested five suspects but one of them Hussein Chiefma alias Master was killed as he allegedly resisted the arrest by the security officers. Lokech said that the group had been arrested in relation to the June 1st 2021 murder of Gen. Katumba Wamala’s daughter Brendah Nantongo and his driver Haruna Kayondo who were gunned down in a shooting that left the former Chief of Defense Forces Katumba Wamala with gun shot injuries. The shooting occurred along Kisota road in Kisaasi a Kampala city suburb.

One Gen Katumba's attackers shot dead, four other suspects arrested
Maj Gen Paul Lokech displays photos of Gen. Katumba Wamala’s attackers

But the lawyers argue in their documents that on various dates between June 24th and July 2nd 2021, the said suspects were picked up from their respective homes in Kawanda, Maganjo, Muyenga, Namuwongo in Kampala and Wakiso districts.

The application is supported by an affidavit of Francis Nyakoojo, an advocate of High Court and a human rights activist who states that the group was taken by plain clothed men armed with all kinds of guns and brutally dragged into waiting vans while some were even taken with their relatives to places they didn’t know. However, the activist adds that they have since learnt that they were detained at Special Investigations Department Unit of Police -SIU Kireka where they tried accessing them but have failed to date.

“That it is now well over 48 hours but the applicants have not been produced before any court of law nor formally charged with any offense known under the law,” reads the affidavit in part.

He adds: “I therefore verily believe that the applicants were illegally arrested and are being illegally detained by the respondents, their agents, servants and/or persons acting under them.”

One Gen Katumba's attackers shot dead, four other suspects arrested
Maj Gen Paul Lokech displays another photo of one of Gen. Katumba Wamala’s attackers

The lawyers further argue that the continued detention of the applicants is in contravention of their constitutional right to personal liberty.

“That in the circumstances, it has become necessary to seek the intervention of this Honorable Court to secure the personal liberty of the applicants,”  adds the affidavit.

According to one of the suspects lawyers Geoffrey Turyamusiima, although police confirms the arrest of only five suspects, they have heard rumors that some of those not named by police were shot dead and bodies carried away.

When asked to be specific on who has been killed and who hasn’t, Turyamusiima said that they are also not sure but when they visited the places from where the people were picked, that is what they were told.

Maj Gen Paul Lokech displays the recovered suspected killer gun
Maj Gen Paul Lokech displays the recovered suspected killer guns

Accordingly, Turyamusiima adds that they have come to court such that the government is compelled to bring the bodies of the suspects whether dead or alive and offer an explanation of the circumstances surrounding the allegations.

Quickly after filing the application, the lawyers obtained a certificate of urgency requiring that this case be heard expeditiously and as such, Justice Phillip Odoki has fixed it for hearing today.

Read Also: Human rights defenders unhappy Gen Katumba attack suspects killed

The Attorney General, the Inspector General of Police, the Commandant Special Investigations Directorate Kireka and the Director Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence are listed as the respondents in this case.

The security agencies had earlier arrested two other suspects in this very case and they have since been charged and remanded to Kitalya government prison.

The two are Sheikh Yusuf Siraji Nyanzi and Hussein Sserubula whom police alleges aided the real murderers in execution of the crime through the planning process.

The duo has since applied for bail before the Criminal Division of the High Court.